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Peeping Tom Laws in California


There’s all different forms of peeping on another individual.  Sometimes I see people peeping in another person’s window at their house or their apartment.  Sometimes it’s their neighbor or their just passing by.  It’s a stranger.

Other times, I’ve actually seen people going into department stores and peeping on individuals inside dressing rooms using cameras and bags where they put the camera inside the bag and they hide it and then they put the bag underneath the stall of the dressing room and somehow they get caught.

To give you a better understanding of the “peeping tom” laws, our California criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below. First, let’s review the statutes that makes it a crime to spy on others, or take their picture, with their consent.

Peeking While Loitering and Invasion of Privacy Laws

Usually that’s going to be charged as a misdemeanor, but if you’ve got a prior conviction for something like that and you have to register as a sex offender now you pick up a new offense doing that, they’re going to charge that crime as a felony and you’re going to be looking at potential prison time and a lot of time in custody. The primary statues include:

California Penal Code 647(i) – Peeking while loitering
California Penal Code 647(j) – Invasion of privacy

These peeping cases can cause you to have to register as a sex offender, send you into custody — whether it be county jail or even prison — and can cause the prosecutors to put you on probation for a lengthy period of time.Peeping Tom Laws in California Penal Code 647(i)

They also put a bunch of ramifications on you where you have search and seizure conditions, you can’t got to certain locations, you can’t be around individuals under the age of 18.  There’s a whole slew of things, especially if you get put on felony probation.  I see people having to take polygraphs as part of their probation to make sure that they’re not still involved in sexually-related offenses.

Our society has really gone crazy when it comes to people who are committing sex offenses, especially individuals who are invading other people’s privacy, going to these dressing rooms, peeping into their windows at night.

Those people are the people that the legislature, the police, judges, prosecutors and even the general public are most afraid of because you think you’re safe in your home and you have somebody peeping on you.

You think you’re safe going into a dressing room and just simply trying on clothes, the next thing you know someone’s looking at you, seeing what you’re doing.  People don’t like that.  That is a real personal invasion.

Penalties for Peeping on Other People

So, the consequences of peeping on another person — whether it be in their home or whether it be in their business — can be grave for those individuals who are charged with these crimes. Sometimes you have a defense.  They don’t have the proof.

Other times they have all the proof they need, and yet there’s the third situation where it could go either way ad that’s where you need to sit down with a criminal defense attorney.  I do this all the time.  I meet with people.  We go over the evidence that thy have.

The evidence that is against that person, the evidence that the person could use to defend themselves and then we have to make a judgment call of whether this is the type of case we’re going to fight or whether this is the type of case we need to do damage control and work out a resolution.  Sometimes these are very important decisions to make because you don’t want to fight a case, spend a lot of money and then end up losing.

When you lose one of these cases you lose it in a lot of different ways.  I mean, you can lose it as far as having to register as a sex offender; whereas, if you worked out a deal you wouldn’t have had to register as a sex offender.

You can lose it because the person ends up having to go to jail for a long period of time and you could lose it because a lot of restrictions end up getting placed on that particular individual.

Defenses for Peeping Tom Charges

So, that’s what you really have to weigh in these peeping cases whether or not you want to go down the road of challenging the prosecutors, challenging the police, because if you do and your unsuccessful, you usually end up getting a much worse result than if you would have just worked it out with the prosecutors.

These peeping cases are definitely cases where you want to have your own private criminal defense attorney because that attorney is going to be specifically targeted for you, is going to know the Los Angeles criminal court’s landscape where your case is pending.

They also need to know exactly how to deal with the prosecutor, how to deal with the judge, how to maneuver the case, how to go to the supervisor of the prosecutor if they’re not being reasonable.

There’s a whole host of different things that an individual needs to do in these peeping cases to try to turn the tide in your favor, and if you have any prior sex-related offenses, obviously the consequences are going to be worse for you so you want to make sure that your attorney is seasoned on how to handle your case and what it’s going to take to get you the best possible result.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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